The relationship between allocentric and egocentric frames of reference and categorical and coordinate spatial information processing.Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2011 Jun; 64(6):1138-56.QJ
We report two experiments on the relationship between allocentric/egocentric frames of reference and categorical/coordinate spatial relations. Jager and Postma (2003) suggest two theoretical possibilities about their relationship: categorical judgements are better when combined with an allocentric reference frame and coordinate judgements with an egocentric reference frame (interaction hypothesis); allocentric/egocentric and categorical/coordinate form independent dimensions (independence hypothesis). Participants saw stimuli comprising two vertical bars (targets), one above and the other below a horizontal bar. They had to judge whether the targets appeared on the same side (categorical) or at the same distance (coordinate) with respect either to their body-midline (egocentric) or to the centre of the horizontal bar (allocentric). The results from Experiment 1 showed a facilitation in the allocentric and categorical conditions. In line with the independence hypothesis, no interaction effect emerged. To see whether the results were affected by the visual salience of the stimuli, in Experiment 2 the luminance of the horizontal bar was reduced. As a consequence, a significant interaction effect emerged indicating that categorical judgements were more accurate than coordinate ones, and especially so in the allocentric condition. Furthermore, egocentric judgements were as accurate as allocentric ones with a specific improvement when combined with coordinate spatial relations. The data from Experiment 2 showed that the visual salience of stimuli affected the relationship between allocentric/egocentric and categorical/coordinate dimensions. This suggests that the emergence of a selective interaction between the two dimensions may be modulated by the characteristics of the task.